New Data that has recently surfaced from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration seems to prove that legalizing marijuana does what supporters have long promised: It reduces the unregulated cannabis market and cuts the expenses of law enforcement. The DEA allocated absolutely no money, not a cent for marijuana eradication in Colorado for Fiscal Year 2016, which has declined from the agency’s $80,000 budget line item for the state during Fiscal Year 2014. That is according to reports released this month in reply to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from a journalist named Drew Atkins. Colorado voters passed a marijuana legalization bill back in November 2012, and legal sales went into effect in the state on January 1, 2014.
Although Washington State cast their vote to legalize marijuana on the same day in 2012, legal sales there did not initiate until July 2014. But the DEA marijuana extermination spending is already down in that state, too, In reference to the new data. The federal agency used $1,050,000 cutting down and burning marijuana plants in FY2014 and $950,000 the next year. But for the current fiscal year, only $760,000 is allocated in the budget funds. In the great state of Oregon, where voters passed legalization in November 2014 and legal sales started about a year later, DEA anti-marijuana spending has declined from $1,000,000 in FY2014 to just $200,000 in FY2016. DEA allocated nothing for marijuana eradication for the last three fiscal years in Alaska, which also voted to legalize in 2014.
Though the state reductions can not be directly connected to the end of marijuana prohibition as well as some non-legal states that have dropped too, while others have progressed — the data undermines a familiar talking point from foes of cannabis legalization who debate that the new laws actually make it much simpler for drug cartels and gangs to set up shop and undercut the regulated and taxed legal market. If that were valid, a person can only expect to see federal agencies putting, even more, pressure on those states. Still, the new data displays that in every state that has currently set up shop in the legal market for marijuana, DEA spending on cannabis eradication is down. This year, the people in Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada will get an opportunity to legalize cannabis if they choose correctly on Novembers ballots.